Brand Identity vs Brand Personality

‘Your identity is your most valuable possession and it needs to be protected.’

Similarly, a brand has an identity too – something that a consumer instantly recognizes the brand with.

For instance, what comes to your mind when you read the phrase ‘Just do it!’? You instantly think of the sports brand, Nike. That is the brand’s identity.

A brand identity is conveyed through various aspects of a brand. The brand’s logo, tagline, fonts, color all act towards creating a brand’s identity.

When Nike flashed in your mind as soon as you thought of Just Do It, you’d have also thought about the swoosh and the color orange which are Nike’s core brand identity. All of these impressions in your mind make a brand. It is something you visualize and derive an association when you hear the name.

Why does your brand need an identity?

Brand identity is vital for any company. Without a name or visual, it is as good as non-existent.

A brand identity is the face of your company or a product.

It represents the company’s values, mission and services.

It is something that your customers know you for. A brand identity is important because:

  • An identity sets you apart from your competitors
  • A strong brand identity creates a strong brand awareness
  • It establishes a connection in the minds of the customers
  • When the identity is strong, it creates a strong brand recall
  • A strong brand identity leads to credibility and trust among customers

When you talk about brand identity, there is also another aspect of the brand that needs to be highlighted. This aspect is equally vital for your brand as this is what sets your brand apart from other brands.

Nowadays, brands are seen as an extension of your personality.

For example, if I am inclined towards sports, then I will prefer a brand that is sporty or adventurous. This very attribute of a brand being sporty or adventurous is called Brand Personality.

What is the personality of your Brand?

No, it’s not a trick question. Your brand is as human as you are.

It has a personality that has been built through years of development of the brand. While the brand identity can change as the brand passes through phases in the brand life cycle, a brand personality will mostly remain the same.

Brand personality is something that a brand portrays if your brand was a human being. Imagine your brand to be alive at this moment, the qualities that you give your brand, is the brand personality. It is as if ‘giving life to your brand.’

Brand personality is a set of feelings, emotions and qualities you can give a brand. It is everything that a brand lives to be.

Through the development of a brand, the various stages that it goes through and the way in which it conveys its communication, become a major part of the brand personality. Often, a brand’s personality reflects that of its target customers.

Before you set your brand’s personality, think of all the possible qualities of your brand and research about the attributes of your brand, the values and the target base. Get to know who you really are and who you want to sell to. After the basic research, start by what would be the core tone of communication you want your brand to take. Again taking the Nike example, when they say ‘Just Do It’ the brand portrays a personality of a conqueror.

To make things simpler, we can say that brand personality is the emotional quality that is attached to the brand and brand identity is the logical aspect of a brand.

A brand cannot have a quirky personality if the identity is all formal and serious. It is important for the visuals and voice to go hand in hand. Few of the brands that have exceptionally good brand personalities are Dove (Purist), Red Bull (Risk taker), Harley Davidson (Rebel), Johnson & Johnson (Protector).

Brand personality and brand identity are both distinctive and enduring. Both are built over a period of time.

If you want to develop a good brand identity and brand personality, think of it as someone you’d want to spend a weekend with; it might be enjoyable to have a brand as your companion with personality features you wish for.

Also check out our Guide to Personal Branding


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